Everyday Mom's Meals
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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Back To School

As much as I have tried to ignore it for weeks, the joy that is summer vacation is coming to an end and back to school time is officially here. For our family, it's actually a two week process, and mommy is not handling any of it well.

This week my first baby embarks on his Senior year of high school. I'm pretty sure we just went to freshman orientation last week, so it's not quite clear how that happened.

The next day my little baby turns 6! Again, we just brought him home from the hospital, so that went quickly. Then the following week, he is off to Kindergarten, which is going to be a huge adjustment for both of us. 

We are so happy with our school choice, his teacher is amazing, and I get the joy of being classroom mom. All of these things make sending him off a little easier, but the fact that my sidekick won't be here every day is a bit hard to swallow. For him too. During his check up at the doctor last week, when asked if he was excited about school, he replied with "Not really. I don't want to leave mommy." 

That sums it up for Max. He has spent the last 6 years with me, all day, every day, for the most part. We can tell him how much fun he's going to have, how much he is going to learn, and how awesome Kindergarten will be; but right now he can't see past having to leave my side. 

Like all hard things, this too shall past. We will get him through the anxiety of the first few days, or even weeks, but for now, I'm going to keep snuggling, hugging and enjoying these last few moments of just us time. 

And don't think for one minute by going on and on about the little one, seeing the 17 year old leave for his last year of high school is any easier on this mommy's heart. Oh, and did I mention he turns 18 next month? Seriously, it is a lot, all at once. I burst with pride for the man he is becoming, but melt inside knowing he is getting closer and closer to leaving the nest. 

Anyway, enough blubbering on, the whole point of me diving into the back to school saga was to share this super simple, 3 ingredient, Crock Pot recipe that is perfect for those busy school nights filled with sports, meetings, activities and more. 

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken is filled with flavor and can be used for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos or just served over some cooked rice! On those evenings when everyone has to eat at different times, it is as good for the last person as the first. 

If you are dreading sending your kids back to school like me, I send you love and hugs. We can get through this...one day at a time...and count the days until fall break! 

 



Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts

2 cups mild, chunky salsa, divided use

2 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning

Fresh parsley, if desired, for garnish

Grease Crock Pot insert with nonstick spray. Lay chicken inside and sprinkle with seasoning. Pour 1 cup of salsa over top. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Shred chicken and mix with remaining cup of salsa. Cook 10 minutes until heated through. Serve or keep on warm. Garnish with parsley if desired.



Sunday, July 24, 2022

Neighbors and Peaches

Last week our sweet neighbor lady came to us and said "if you guys want some peaches, help yourself to some off my tree." So, Max and Daddy walked next door and found this beautiful peach tree overflowing with big, juicy, ripe summer peaches. 

They came back with a huge bowl because they know how much mommy loves them. I would have been perfectly content to leave them on the counter and just snack on them, but they were so ripe they needed to be used quickly. So, I made peach cobbler, and it was delicious, but was gone so quickly I didn't get a chance to blog it. 

The next day I used some in a fruit salad that was raved about. Peaches. Strawberries. Blueberries. It was like summer in a bowl. 

That same night she told them to come pick more because there were still a ton! Well, they came home with another huge bowl full. I knew I needed to use some up so they didn't go bad, so I decided on peach crisp, but this time I would make sure I could share it with you!

Now, that peach cobbler was tasty, don't get me wrong, but this? This was UH-mazing! Like, I wanted to sit down with a spoon and finish off the whole dish myself. I am a sucker for a crumble topping, and this one was fantastic. 

One of the best things about this recipe is you don't have to peel the peaches! Sure, you can if you want, but the skin cooks down and is perfectly fine in the crisp. 

When I say I am not a huge baker, I'm not exaggerating. So you know if I can make this and have it turn out 100% scrumptious, anyone can! 

If you are a peach lover like me, this simple sweet treat will add a little something extra to your summer baking!

Peach Crisp

6-8 peaches, sliced (about 2.5 lbs)

1/4 cup white sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon, depending on flavor

Pinch of salt

 Topping:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish In a large bowl combine peaches, white sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. In a medium bowl mix flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Pour peaches into a 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake for 50 minutes until bubbling. *NOTE* I  think it's easiest to use my hands to make the crumb topping.




Sunday, July 17, 2022

Does Your Summer Schedule Need A 30-Minute Meal?

Have you gotten the school supplies list yet? If not, it is coming! I got Max's this week and the reality that school is coming started to set in hard. As much as I try to ignore it, deny it and pretend it isn't happening, we only have about a month left before he will be off to Kindergarten, abandoning Mommy, all day, every day. 

Sorry, was that a little dramatic? I won't lie, I am struggling with the thought of having a Kindergartner and a Senior. I've told people for years the 12 year age difference is perfection, a true gift from God, but for this ONE week when they both head off to school, one for the very first time, and one for the very last time...Mommy is going to shed some tears. Big, crocodile, sobbing tears. 

But you know what? Summer is still here for now, and I am hanging on to it with my fingers and toes. I am trying to find ways to suck all the fun we can out of summer as long as we can. 

So what does that have to do with food? Plenty! We are so busy right now, I need quick and easy meals so that I'm not wasting a bunch of time in the kitchen instead of outside in the sun playing! Plus, we are gearing up for VBS at church this week, which means I need suppers that we can all eat at different times. Max before we leave, the big boys while we are gone and then me when we get home. 

This Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut is perfect because it can stay warm on the stove, or I could even make it in the slow cooker if I wanted to. It can be ready to serve in about 30 minutes so it fits right into the crazy that is my life right now.

If your summer isn't slowing down any time soon, only to be closely followed by the hectic start to a school year, this 30 minutes meal might just save a little bit of your sanity too!

Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut

3 (9 oz.) packages smoked sausage, cut into rounds

1 (32 oz.) bag sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well

2 TBS brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBS butter, divided use

Black Pepper

Fresh Parsley

Whole Grain Mustard

In a Dutch oven melt 1 TBS butter over medium heat. Sauté sausage until brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In same Dutch oven, melt remaining butter. Sauté garlic, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and sauerkraut and mix well. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes until some liquid has evaporated and flavors have melded. Season with black pepper. Add sausage back in and stir to combine. Cook 10 additional minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with chopped fresh parsley. Serve mustard on side at the table. 


 


 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Hold On Summer

 Anyone else feel like the days are passing at supersonic speed and summer 2022 is on course to be one of the quickest ones yet? 

July 4th came and went, and now I'm sure it is only a matter of days before school supplies show up in the store aisles where the fireworks and Americana displays were just a week ago. 

I am sure part of my need for a pause button is the fact that once August comes, I have to face the reality of my babies going back to school. If you don't know, Max will start Kindergarten this year, about a week after his big brother begins his Senior year of high school. Yeah, that week is going to be a tear-filled, blubbering, Mommy is a wreck time. I've always said the 12 year age difference has been perfect, allowing me the best of both worlds, except for this one week when I have to send them both off for BIG years and sit alone in the house wondering what to do with myself. 

But enough about what isn't coming for another month (see, I can totally be in denial just a bit longer). In reality, there is still plenty of summer left and absolutely plenty of reasons to gather in the backyard for a cookout, barbecue or pool party. 

If I have being honest, I wanted to post this recipe as an idea for your Independence Day celebration, but with the whole "tree fell into our house" ordeal, I am a little behind on my work. 

So instead you are getting a tasty, easy, side dish idea perfect for that next cookout, or just for supper this week. 

Broccoli Slaw is one of those dishes that takes a classic summer dish and puts just enough of a twist on it that makes it new and fresh. Coleslaw just isn't for cabbage anymore! 

This is a great summer take-along too because you can make it ahead and leave it in the fridge until you're ready to eat. 

If the summer gods are reading this, I beg you to make time slow down a little. Please. From a mommy who wants to suck every last bit out of this summer as she can before some big changes come our way. 


 

 Broccoli Slaw 

2 (12 oz.) bags broccoli slaw mix

1/2 cup + 2 TBS mayonnaise

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup dried cranberries

2 TBS white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 TBS celery seed

Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl whisk together mayo, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. In a large bowl mix slaw mix, cranberries and nuts. Pour dressing over and fold gently to combine. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Stir before serving and garnish with extra nuts and cranberries if desired. 



Sunday, June 26, 2022

Storms, Casseroles and Gratitude

 If your Summer 2022 is anything like mine, it is flying by, the days are busier than ever and when it is time for bed you wonder where all the minutes and hours went. 

The last two weeks in our house have been especially busy, and might I say, stressful. On the night of June 13th, a massive thunderstorm went through our area wreaking havoc in it's path. We now know it was actually a "derecho" with sustained winds of 98mph, the same as a Cat 2 hurricane. 

We were some of the unlucky ones who sustained damage in the storm. Our huge maple tree in the front yard, the one that was there long before we moved in almost 20 years ago, couldn't withstand the strong winds. It crashed down onto our house, right above where the 5 year old was sleeping. I wish I had the words to describe the level of fear, and then instant gratitude we felt because it could have been so much worse.

The next morning the tree was removed and we could assess the damage. Let's just say we have some major repairs that have to be done to both the exterior and interior of our house. It has been a stressful two weeks and we continue to pray we have success with the insurance and repair process.

As you can imagine, this situation only added to an already busy summer schedule. Between days of fun, and now days of planning and scheduling, you know I need some easy suppers to satisfy these hungry boys of mine. 

What could be more perfect than a hearty casserole filled with meat, cheese and noodles? A retro one our grandmas and moms probably made because it is pretty budget friendly too! 

Hamburger Casserole is one of those meals you might just have everything on hand for and will feed a crowd. It is also a great "take to" meal for those new babies, loss of a loved one, or your neighbors who have storm damage! 

Summer time doesn't mean the calendar opens up at all. More things to do and a shorter amount of time to do them in. Fun in the sun is the goal as much as possible, with some stress-free suppers to end the day with!

 

Retro Hamburger Casserole

1 lb. ground beef

2 cans tomato soup

1 lb. rotini pasta

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup beef broth

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and Pepper

Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Boil pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown beef with onion until no longer pink. Drain if needed. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drain pasta well. Add pasta, beef broth, soup and half of both cheeses to skillet. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with a little dried parsley. Bake for 10 additional minutes until bubbly and brown.